sandrawhitehouseMarine Conservation and Policy students were given the unique opportunity to speak with Sandra Whitehouse, Senior Policy Advisor for the Ocean Conservancy. Whitehouse, who had given a lecture as part of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Science noon seminar series, took time afterward to meet specifically with MCP students. Specifically she offered career advice for young aspiring marine policy makers.

“My advice is to get in on the ground floor. Come up through an internship,” advises Whitehouse, “Working on the hill in that hierarchy is necessary.”

Whitehouse, who has lots of experience shaping ocean policy, didn’t always see a career for herself in policy. She got a Ph.D. in biological oceanography and was making progress to become a research scientist when she got involved in Rhode Island coastal policy initiatives.

“You’re going to reach a fork,” says Whitehouse. “You’ll make a choice that you don’t think is going to change your career.”

Whitehouse was the first environmental policy advisor for Rhode Island, and has since served on many boards for non profit organizations including Save the Bay and Nature Conservancy’s Rhode Island chapter. She is currently a member of the Advisory Board for the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.